HSU branch drops national body
A LISMORE sub-branch of the scandal-rocked Health Services Union has suspended its membership of the national body and demanded its executives be sacked.
About 20 members of the Population Health sub-branch of the union yesterday declared they had been betrayed by the union's leadership, including its NSW secretary Michael Williamson and former HSU boss turned Federal MP Craig Thomson, who has been accused of spending union funds on escorts.
The Lismore sub-branch members said the organisation needed large-scale reform.
"We want the sacking of all executives," sub-branch president Dr Avigdor Zask said.
"At the moment we don't have confidence in how the funds are managed. We would like to see the HSU reform itself and become a modern, transparent and democratic organisation that truly represents its members."
A Fair Work Australia investigation found Mr Thomson misused "substantial funds" for escorts, travel and hospitality services. The regulating body encouraged union members to take civil court action against him.
Dr Zask said local members would "definitely join in if a civil action was taken". He said a separate investigation into the union's governance, the Temby Report, suggested the issue ran deeper than Mr Thomson.
"[The union] needs a real thorough shake up; it doesn't just need a change of the main figure heads," Dr Zask said.
He said, suspension of union memberships has been wide- spread and will increase if the organisation is not reformed.
"We're only a small sub-branch but we know hundreds of members, and that's being conservative, who have left since this thing happened," Dr Zask said. "Our concern is, until people assure us that the funds are managed properly, the union will lose a bigger chunk of its membership."
The Lismore sub-branch has called for a direct referendum to be held to determine how the union should be managed.